Work on the sleeping car in 2012 has really been a case of two steps forward, one step back.
So to start with, the bad news:
The repairs on the bottom of the north side of the coach where we replaced the bottom couple of inches of the side have not been aseffective as we had hoped for. Even though we cleaned up with structurral metalwork behind the afffected platework, rust keeps coming through from the underside. At first it was thought maybe the quality of the weld might have caused the rust to start coming through from the outside so in a number of places the weld was ground out and rewelded. Unfortunately, the rust still persists in coming through. This is coming from the inside on the structural metalwork that it is impossible to reach with the side sheeding on. As this is happening only a year after the original repairs, it will clearly not stand the test of time, even once stored undercover most of the time in The International Night Mail Museum.
There is no quick, easy or cheap solution to this problem unfortunately. The whole side sheet will have to come off, the structural metalwork cleaned up and a the side sheeting replaced below the windows.Whilst frustrating and heartbreaking after so many hours have been spent on the original repairs, unfortunately there are no other options open to us. The NVR's paid carraige staff have had to do the same repairs on the railway's rake of SNCB K1A coaches over the last yew years.
This is a job that needs to be done under cover however so we will not go ahead with this until we have secure storage out of the elements at Ferry Meadows.
It is not all bad news however. We have had a new volunteer Matt, who is a coded welder, and Joel making significant progress on the east end vestibule. This is the sort of work that requires highly specialised work and coded welding as the forces of the whole train can be transfered through the coupling and buffers here. These areas are also essential for structurual stability of the coach in a crash. Having Matt on board is therefore saving us many thousands of pounds. The skills he is passing on are also invaluable.
A framework has been built to support the roof as we chop more and more metalwork out of the vestibule.
Following this, Matt and Joel set about systematically chopping out rotten metalwork, and fabricating new, sometimes complicated shapes, to replace these with. As with everything else on the vehicle it has sometimes been a case of two steps forward, and one step back. Sometimes a new piece of metalwork has been made, ready to weld in, only to find the original metalwork that had previously been unaccessible, it is being welded onto is too rotten and has to be replaced to. Everywhere you look, much of the metalwork is a lot more rotten than first expected unfortunately.
The North-East buffer area is now complete, and work is progressing around the rotten areas of the south-east corner. Work will then go onto building up the main structure of the vestibule using the pieces that were fabricated in 2009.
Bellow are a series of pictures of the work through the summer months.